Secretary Gates Delivers on Promise
Secretary Gates participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new elementary school at Fort Riley, Kansas which he helped make a reality. Secretary Gates told those in attendance, "Today, we mark a major step forward in solving school overcrowding here at Fort Riley, a problem that had become a major retention issue for the [1st Infantry Division], which is on its fourth deployment since 2003."
Department of Defense (DoD) officials identified the facilities as being the most in need of rehabilitation of any across the armed services. With more than 150 public schools on military installations across America, a recent assessment showed that many other school districts are having similar difficulties raising the revenue required to meet capacity requirements and rehabilitate aging facilities. Congress has appropriated $250 million for the Defense Department to directly assist these school districts in revitalizing the public schools on military installations with the greatest need.
Local school districts should and will remain ultimately responsible for public school facilities on military bases, the secretary said. But the Defense Department, he added, always will be ready to intervene when it has the ability to improve military children's educational opportunities.
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